A Petition to Restore Dennis Cooper’s Blog

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Petition on Behalf of Dennis Cooper’s Blog and E-Mail Account

Thanks to a notice posted by Brian Kim Stefans, I became aware yesterday of a major literary crisis. Dennis Cooper’s blog and e-mail accounts have been summarily deleted by Google. He was not given any prior notification or warning about this public dismemberment of his creative and cultural work, nor has he received a single sentence from Google explaining their actions.

Mark Doten has started a petition to demand the restoration of Dennis Cooper’s writing to a domain of his own control. You can join me in signing this petition at:
https://www.change.org/p/google-restore-dennis-cooper-s-blog-and-email/u/17375624?tk=BQ7EC_yqjQ5JU3WsELxKKMVO0pMDJkdX5wonCb2tAGQ&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email

As Mark Doten pointed out in a post on his July 21st Facebook page, “….surely the blog contained 10,000 hours or more of Dennis’s labor.” I myself can testify to the longstanding work ethic that Dennis possesses. No one, including me, worked as hard as Dennis did back in the late 1970s and early 1980s to make poetry more visible in Los Angeles. It seemed as if every time I stopped by Beyond Baroque’s New Comp Graphics to do some typesetting for my own Momentum press, there was Dennis at the Compugraphic keyboard, pounding out page after page for some issue of his magazine, Little Caesar or a book for his press. What part of work does Google not understand? It takes substantial work to accomplish the body of work produced by Dennis Cooper. In contrast, anybody in a state slightly more alert than torpor can sit at a machine and with a couple dozen keystrokes, gleaned from an operations manual, obliterate another person’s thoughtful cultural work. It doesn’t take much effort to figure out who is more admirable.

I suspect, by the way, that the hand of a censor is at work in this instance. Many of us might think that the trial of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” in the mid-1950s settled once and for all the rights of serious writers to have their work protected from censorship. I am afraid that the battle to keep the censoring hand from the writer’s keyboard is never completely won. The situation is rather like that of abortion rights and the issue of a woman’s control over her own body. Roe versus Wade was just an important turning point; so, too, was Ferlinghetti’s victory in a San Francisco court. I certainly hope that Dennis Cooper does not have to take this case to court. Doten’s petition, if it receives the vigorous support it deserves, might well help resolve this crisis before it reaches that point.

Fortunately, in promoting this petition, Dennis is not without friends and allies who are willing to speak up on his behalf. If you want to find out more about this crisis of imagination and censorship, please read Jennifer Krasinski’s article at the “Culture Desk” at The New Yorker:
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/why-did-google-erase-dennis-coopers-beloved-literary-blog

And once again, I urge you to join me and over 3,000 other people in signing Mark Doten’s petition to Google.